What’s wrong with the industry?

woman thumbs down

Although today’s noncommercial industry is almost unrecognizable compared to the business of yore, there is always room for improvement. FoodService Director surveyed up-and-coming pros aged 35 and under to see what they would change about their line of work—and they did not hold back.

No big-picture control

man big picture

Some operators don’t feel heard in their broader organizations, and they have an array of constituencies to answer to. Wesley Delbridge, director of food and nutrition at Chandler Unified School District in Chandler, Ariz., wishes directors had more in-school say in how the operation runs. “We would love to partner with school administrators to figure the right amount of time kids need to eat, how can we make their experience better,” he says. “We are here with the knowledge and the drive to want to make it the best dining experience it can be.”

Convenience over connection

chicken bacon ceasar salad takeout

With technology driving dining closer and closer to a speedy, frictionless process, some operators yearn to slow things down. “At least in higher education it seems the industry is moving more and more toward fast, on-the-go options,” says Alyse Festenstein, manager of community partnerships for Bon Appetit at Emory University in Atlanta. “Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days of taking time to sit down to a meal.”

Too much waste

food waste trash cans

Although the industry has taken major strides in the realms of food waste and sustainability, some operators think that enough still isn’t being done. Amanda Goldie, director of dining services at Village at Morrison Cove in Martinsburg, Pa., says she and Compass Group as a whole try to use cosmetically imperfect produce that grocery stores won’t buy. 

High costs for health

money plate

It can be challenging for operators to sell wellness to their guests when more wholesome items run up the check. Dustin Cochran, regional executive chef for Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., says he would like to balance the price difference between what it costs to produce healthy food versus processed items.

Unfair stigma

manager staff meeting

Industry outsiders don’t always understand the effect that noncommercial foodservice plays in their lives. “There is still a lot of education that needs to be done, because a lot of people still look down on foodservice workers and managers,” says Jessie Rafik Wahba, director of food and nutrition services at California Rehabilitation Institute in Los Angeles. “I wish I can change the perception that we just work in a kitchen, and educate them about the importance of nutrition and the passion and wealth behind all this great food.”

Busy work

stack paperword

Patti Ramos, associate director of food and nutrition at St. John Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., says she wishes the industry would find more ways to streamline all of the paperwork.

A lack of sharing

community hands

Jennifer Takara, regional manager of recruitment and safety for Bon Appetit in the San Francisco Bay Area wants more inter-connectedness and camaraderie in noncommercial. “In the San Francisco Bay Area, the entire culinary and hospitality industry suffers from lack of staff,” Takara says. “How can we work together to address the issues that face us, from cost of living to transportation on the peninsula?”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
polystyrene takeout

New York City will immediately start phasing out foodservice operations’ use of polystyrene takeout containers after a judge ruled on Friday against an operator coalition that had sued to overturn such a regulation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said over the weekend.

Unless the measure is blocked again on appeal, the city will commence a public education campaign to smooth the way for the change to other sorts of containers. Operators will be given a six-month grace period to find alternatives before they’ll be subject to sanctions.

The measure was scheduled to take effect last...

Managing Your Business
uber driver

The freelance, independent-contractor labor market known as the gig economy is distinguished by working short-term contracts, or gigs, such as driving for Uber, Lyft or Instacart.

The majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027, according to a study called “Freelancing in America: 2017,” conducted by Edelman Intelligence. The annual study, commissioned in partnership by the Freelancers Union and Upwork Global, estimates that 36% of the U.S. workforce consists of freelancers who contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually—an increase of almost 30% over the...

Industry News & Opinion

Sturgeon Bay Schools in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has partnered with a local farm to construct a school greenhouse , Green Bay Press Gazette reports.

Construction will begin soon, and the district says that the project is already 75% funded. Once the building is finished, students will be able to grow their own food at the greenhouse and then learn how to preserve it through canning and other methods.

“The greenhouse will provide students with the opportunity to grow food, sample food they have cultivated, design planting plans, tend seedlings, integrate real-life technology in...

Sponsored Content
eating mac and cheese

From AFP advanced food products llc

Some iconic food pairings have stood the test of time―peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, just to name a few.

But, classic doesn’t mean boring or on the way out. In fact, there’s been a resurgence of mac and cheese on menus. According to 2018 data from Technomic’s MenuMonitor, mac and cheese menu mentions have grown by the following percentages over the past four years:

On the kids menu: 10.4% As an entree: 7.5% As a side/extra: 8.2%

In addition to increasing menu instances, noncommercial...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code